Are Mobile Phones Ruining Live Music?

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By Jack Holmes

Let me paint you a picture. You’ve forked out £30 of your own hard earned cash to feast your eyes upon one of your musical heroes, yet come the moment you’ve been waiting for, your view is blocked by a sea of bulky iPhones.

It’s strange to think that at a modern gig there are times when half the audience seem to actually be watching the artist on their phone screens as they film them, rather than simply enjoying the show. Whether it’s dozens of pictures taken with the frantic tapping of fingers or the awkward filming over the heads of the other members of the crowd, who are in turn doing the same. Are phones ruining modern live music?

If you’re not the tallest person in the world like myself, then your response is most likely, yes. Unless you’ve had the good fortune to manage to get yourself to the front of the crowd, the short people of the world are having a hard time as it is seeing over the crowd, that’s without them having their hands as high in the air as possible, to get that golden snap for their Instagram feed.

On the other hand, if you’ve paid that £30 for a gig, why shouldn’t you be able to enjoy an artist by any means you find appropriate.

The idea of immortalising a memory in photo isn’t the aspect of this situation people seem to have a problem with, it’s the sheer number of videos and photos being taken. Do you really need to have a picture and video to go with every track they play? Can’t you take one and be done with it?

If you’re not convinced this is a real issue, there’s a video below from last nights Halsey headlining spot at the Manchester Academy that you can read the review for here, that illustrates the issue.


It’s not just audiences that are taking notice either, bands such as The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Alt-J and Jack White have placed signs around their stages asking for fans to leave their phones in their pockets.

It seems as if social media is once again to blame for another evil that’s befallen our generation as people seem more excited to boast about the bands they’ve seen on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram, than simply enjoy the moments, in the moment.

There’s no easy solution, so all I will ask you dear readers for is this. If you find yourself with the sudden craving to take a quick snap of a band, by all means take one, take a short video in fact, but after that leave the phone in the pocket, there’s people behind you trying to watch with their eyes, rather than their camera lense.

What’s your stance on pictures and videos at gigs? let us know at @holmesblogs or @HumanityHallows

About the author / 


aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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